The NSW Nationals in the state government will work with the Commonwealth to allow greater movement of agriculture workers between states.
It comes after significant work behind the scenes from the NSW Nationals in the state government for a common sense solution to border issues facing farmers and ag workers.
Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro said his team will continue to work towards ensuring our state’s agriculture sector has the workforce it needs to keep powering ahead in the midst of improving seasonal conditions.
“NSW is an agriculture production powerhouse and this needs to continue to help the economy recover after COVID-19, and bring many communities and farmers back from the brink after years of drought,” Mr Barilaro said.
“These measures will make sure that we seize the opportunity to convert a potentially huge harvest into dollars for our farmers.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while it’s disappointing a number of states did not sign on to the framework proposed at National Cabinet today, NSW will look to implement the principles of the new Agricultural Workers’ Code.
“Notwithstanding that National Cabinet could not reach a consensus on this issue, NSW will work towards new rules to allow movement of agriculture workers to benefit our regional communities,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I thank the Deputy Premier and the NSW Minister for Agriculture for their work and their advocacy on this issue.
“Subject to the health advice, we want to be able to provide more certainty for farmers and agriculture workers in NSW. We’re expecting a bumper harvest in many parts of the state this year and I don’t want our farmers and agriculture workers to lose that opportunity.”
The NSW Government will work with the Commonwealth, Victoria and South Australia on the implementation of the principles of the new code including:
- Ensuring the agriculture industry, ancillary services and activities is not unnecessarily impeded by border arrangements for the movement of workers.
- Applying health and safety practices in the agriculture industry, services and activities as appropriate to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission and support responsiveness where transmission occurs.
- Allowing movement across borders will provide for animal health and welfare and biosecurity to be maintained.